It was the day we had all been anticipating. This morning kicked off our jam-packed weekend of excursions around the Côte d’Or and Côtes du Jura. Ahead of us lay three full days and two nights away from Cluny, packed with 4-5 excursions each day. After establishing a foundation of microbiological principles via classroom learning, we were all excited to experience cheese and wine production first-hand.
|Stop #1: Gaugry Dairy at Brochon
We approached a building donning the Gaugry logo that I had frequently enough on cheeses in the Atac grocery store that I instantly recognized it. Thus far, our course had focused mainly on small-scale cheese production, like Margarethe’s mountaintop farm. However, as I work in the food industry, I am typically more interested in medium- to large- scale production facilities. Therefore, I was particularly excited to check out this brand-name cheese producer.
Even being a bigger cheese producer, Gaugry was still proud of its “patrimoine” and too pride in displaying its cheese production processes to the public via a series of educational videos and windows looking into the facilities. Unfortunately, we were not able to see any cheese being produced at the time of our visit, but it was super interesting comparing these more industrial facilities to Margarethe’s more artisan craft.
|Stop #2: Picnic Lunch
Next, we stopped in a picnic area for one of our class’s classic picnics. When we began having these picnics, I thought I would soon get tired of only having mainly fermented meat, cheese, and bread for lunch multiples days a week. However, I love this way of having a communal meal! Every brings something different to the table at each picnic, so I get to try many different types of cheeses, meats, and wines. And as we set up for each picnic, each of us has settled into a particular role- mine is cutting the fresh baguettes. When I get home, I’m going to miss these picnics and I’m going to need to try and recreate them with my friends!
|Stop #3: Clos de Vougeot
The next stop was one of the most famous Grand Cru vineyards, renowned for producing top quality (and top price) wines. Like Cluny, wine production began in this area by monks who needed to produce wine for gifts to important visitors. This plot of land was particularly suitable for growing grapes and, therefore, historically has been some of the most sought after land in the world. One course topic that really clicked for me at this site visit was the concept that many vignerons can grow grapes within one vineyard, yet produce different wines. Some vignerons own as little as one row of vines, yet their wine sells for $10,000+ per bottle!
Today the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot is home to the headquarters of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, or the Fraternity of Knights of the Wine-Tasting Cup. This is a highly exclusive brotherhood focused on the promotion and celebration of Burgundy wine and cuisine. The fraternity is composed of the rich and famous and potential members must be nominated by two current members. And their iconic tagline? Never in vain, always in wine.
|Stop #4: Exploring Dijon
After dropping our luggage off at our really nice hotel- which used to be a convent- our class briefly explored Dijon together, taking particular notice of the architecture. Then we broke off into our typical friend groups for some shopping and dinner. When I travel, I really like to bring home gifts for my parents, grandparents, and boyfriend. Knowing me, it’s no surprise that those gifts typically turn out to be food-related. Because Dijon is home to dijon mustard and true gingerbread, I picked up some treats to bring home!
#FoodSciOrDie Fun Fact: The dijon mustard company Edmond Fallot is the last company in Dijon to grow their mustard seeds and produce mustard in France. Now, most of the mustard seeds used in dijon mustard are grown in Canada.